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Refinery29 reframes mental health imagery, Three honours the mobile phone and why scent may be digital in the future.

​Dutch Design Week 2018: Mobile Journalism highlights the bias in news

Mobile Journalism by Jim Brady, Eindhoven
Mobile Journalism by Jim Brady, Eindhoven
Mobile Journalism by Jim Brady, Eindhoven
Mobile Journalism by Jim Brady, Eindhoven

Mobile Journalism is a VR installation that forces visitors to question the validity of their opinions if the information we are presented with is often manipulated or from a biased perspective.

Designed by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Jim Brady, a VR scene shows a protest march from multiple perspectives. Using a controller, you can alter your perspective of a single scene and play the role of the police officer, journalist or protestor and empathise with each conflicting viewpoint. Brady believes that in this information age, we are quick to formulate an opinion based on what is published, and emphasises that breaking news is never neutral.

His hope is that visitors will take a more critical approach to news stories that they hear, see and read as there is never a singular narrative.

Fake news and unreliable information were a point of issue from several designers at Dutch Design Week. For more on this, read our full show review.

Refinery29 proposes a new visual identity around mental health

Rebranding Mental Health for Refinery29. Photography by Flora Maclean Rebranding Mental Health for Refinery29. Photography by Flora Maclean
Rebranding Mental Health for Refinery29. Photography by Flora Maclean Rebranding Mental Health for Refinery29. Photography by Flora Maclean

Global – The women’s media company has enlisted photographer Flora Maclean to reframe how mental health issues are represented online.

The series is a response to current stock imagery for disorders such as depression, which tend to show mostly white, male models with their head in their hands. To change this, Refinery29’s art director Anna Jay commissioned a series of stock images to use across the website. The images are also on display at the Exposure Gallery in London.

To inform the visual language, Refinery29 conducted a survey with people who suffer from mental illness to find out the words and phrases that sum up their experience. With answers such as ‘[depression] feels like I can barely keep my head above water’, photographer Flora Maclean translated these thoughts into visual concepts that approach the disorders with sensitivity and respect.

Visualising intangible emotions in a tactful way is a difficult task. However, brands like Refinery29 and Swirl are working to create a more sensory visual language around mental health.

Smells could be sent over the internet

Malaysia – A group of researchers are working on a ‘digital smell’ in their quest to create a multisensory internet.

Kasun Karunanayaka, a senior research fellow at the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia, has previously conducted experiments in a bid to bring the digital smell concept to life. For his team’s latest project, he is working with Japanese start-up Scentee to develop the world’s first smartphone gadget that can produce smell sensations.

The Scentee Machina app will add smells to various phone functions, integrating with other apps. For example, it could add a scent of coffee to a morning alarm or distinct fragrances to text messages from different friends. To do this, the team is experimenting with ways to allow people to perceive odours through electrical stimulation.

At our Global Futures Forum 2018 event, we heard from Luca Maria Aiello of Nokia Bell Labs, who is working to create a map that captures the complex smells of cities.

The Lush Spa Experiment film by Mill+

Phones are good, according to Three’s latest ad

Phone History #PhonesAreGood by Three, UK

UK – The mobile phone network has launched a new campaign that imagines how mobile phones could have changed history for the better.

As consumers grow more aware of the damaging nature of phone addiction, Three’s latest ad aims to reposition our personal devices as a force for good. The ad, created by Wieden + Kennedy, is set during different periods in history, including prehistoric times, the voyage of the Titanic and the rule of Henry VIII. It humorously envisages how mobile phones – and the use of apps like Deliveroo, Tinder and Instagram – would have benefited people during these times.

The Phones Are Good ad forms part of Three’s new strategy. After discovering that the company has a perceived reputational issue – 40% of Millennials believe it’s a bad network, according to the company – the brand is in the middle of a turnaround to make its communications more playful, yet mature.

Three is demonstrating its status as a Backlash Brand, flipping a universal attitude towards mobile phones on its head.

Stat: Snapchat is encouraging young people to vote

According to Snap, the company behind the social media service, a recent initiative has helped more than 400,000 of its users – who are mainly teenagers and young adults – register to vote in the forthcoming US mid-term elections, in just two weeks.

In addition, much of its success was in the states of Texas, Florida and Georgia, some of the election’s key battlegrounds. To encourage people over 18 to vote, Snapchat added a button on each user’s profile page and sent video messages suggesting they register. Users were then directed to voter registration site TurboVote.

Historically, the youth population have been the least consistent voters in the US. However, with Snapchat, young people could easily register during their daily interactions with the social media app. For more on how Generation Z are participating in politics, learn about Gen Viz.

Thought-starter: Should we design clothing based on demand?

A new fashion business model is emerging, with start-ups re-inventing the made-to-order model through a pre-production process that is purely digital, says senior creative researcher Rachael Stott.

In recent decades, technology has enabled the fashion industry to transform its production, logistics and data analysis to make each more efficient. Yet, with fashion getting faster, it is clear that the linear take-make-waste model has fuelled an unsustainable cycle of over-consumption.

Three-dimensional virtual prototyping programmes such as CLO are giving fashion designers the tools to design garments in digital form, without the need to cut out a physical pattern or sew a seam. Such digitised tools eliminate unnecessary physical sampling and factory shipping costs, with all changes immediately seen on-screen. Programmes such as CLO also mean garment styles can be finalised ahead of typical production lead times.

Pointing to the next iteration of digital fashion retail, Miximaliste and its parent company Change of Paradigm are developing augmented, virtual and holographic reality applications that will provide new ways for customers to view and experience clothing before they click to buy.

Read the full Demand-led Design microtrend.

Sharewear by Atacac
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